Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, is also home to a number of eerie and haunted places. Minnesota’s long history of Native American conflict and prohibition looting make for some seriously haunted places.
There are scary locations in the Twin Cities, and way up north. This ultimate list of scary and haunted sites in Minnesota will not disappoint.
One great way to see a lot of the scary sites is by booking this ghost walking tour in St. Paul. The tour ends at the St. Paul Hotel and is filled with scary stories.
- 1. Schmidt Brewery
- 2. Anoka State Hospital and Cemetery
- 3. The Jonathan Paddleford Mississippi River Boat
- 4. Palmer House Hotel
- 5. New Ulm City Cemetery
- 6. Nopeming Sanitorium
- 7. Indian Mounds Regional Park
- 8. James J. Hill House
- 9. First Avenue
- 10. Glensheen Mansion
- 11. The Old Jail and Saloon (B&B) in Taylors Falls Minnesota
- 12. Mounds Theatre in St. Paul
- 13. Fort Snelling
- 14. S.S. William A. Irvin Duluth
- 15. Wabasha Street Caves
- 16. St. James Hotel, Red Wing
- 17. St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul
- 18. Warden’s House Museum
- 19. Gibbs Farmhouse
- 20. Forepaugh’s restaurant
- 21. Landmark Center
- 22. The Soap Factory
- Related Articles
1. Schmidt Brewery
Built in 1855 on a natural cave, the now-called Schmidt Brewery is one of the most haunted sites in Minnesota. The Schmidt Brewery is haunted for many reasons.
The original brewery, North Star Brewing, opened in 1855 and was carved into the rock and with caves for storing ales. The original cave opening is still visible today, at the bottom of the bluffs. People report cold breezes emanating on hot days and eerie sounds coming from within.
In 1900, when Jacob Schmidt took over and changed the name of the brewery to Schmidt Brewing, a fire engulfed the building and ravished it to the ground.
Jacob founded Schmidt Brewery but he also had a dark side. Two friends were shot at by a man in the brewery wearing a pink shirt. He denied it, but when the officers came he was wearing pink. He got away with it.
The haunted Schmidt Brewery comes from the workers who died in horrendous and mysterious ways.
In 1896 an “explosion” went off killing two people. In 1902 a cooper fell to his death in an “unmarked” elevator shaft. The news reported that this was an accident, but I don’t believe it. People are rumored to hear a man shouting as if he was falling in the middle of the day.
Just two years later another questionable death happened–Matthew Kohler whose job was to light the gas lamps in the brewery, reportedly spilled oil on himself, set himself on fire, inhaling flames, and burned alive.
Paranormal investigators have caught him on recordings saying that his name is Matt and he is a fireman. He is the most active haunt.
2. Anoka State Hospital and Cemetery
The Anoka State Hospital is a very haunted place in Minnesota. It was the first mental hospital in Minnesota, founded in the late 1800s. The cemetery for the hospital is conveniently located just nearby.
The hospital is filled with paranormal activities from those who tried to escape in the tunnel system to those chained to beds for their whole life.
By the mid-1920s the hospital had over 1,000 patients. Patients sat in dirty beds, were restrained for days on end, and neglected. The staff was helpless and the patients were left to their own means.
The hospital was known for lobotomies and other experimental treatments, think electroshock, so suicides and escapes continued to escalate.
Today, the Anoka State Hospital still stands. Some of it is being rehabbed into housing for homeless veterans. Other parts remain abandoned. Filled with memories of torture, neglect, and sadness.
The nearby cemetery houses over 400 patients. The first person buried in the Anoka State Hospital Cemetery was a 42-year-old German immigrant who committed suicide by walking into the Rum River to his death.
See Related: Anoka State Hospital & Asylum
3. The Jonathan Paddleford Mississippi River Boat
The Jonathan Paddleford is a steamboat on the Mississippi River with a dark past.
As a local to Minnesota, I’ve heard a lot of stories about this boat. It is haunted by a man who climbed up to the top of the pilothouse then fell into the river, drowning to his death.
Several visitors and staff have reported seeing the man climb and fall on several occasions. They will hear footsteps, a scream, and a large splash when no one is around.
Related: Book a ghost walking tour in St. Paul. (external link)
4. Palmer House Hotel
Address: 500 Sinclair Lewis Ave, Sauk Centre, MN
Anyone who grew up in Minnesota has heard stories about the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre. It is extremely haunted, and the spirits there want to be known!
Built in 1901 after a hotel burnt down, the Palmer House Hotel is home to several unregistered “guests.” This is one spooky Sauk Centre house – aka hotel.
The owner says that no mysterious deaths occurred in its history, but the top floor was once used as a brothel. It’s rumored that the man who ran it still haunts the top floor.
I had a friend who worked here, she told me a terrifying story. Her and her boyfriend both worked at the hotel. They were making up a room and talking about religion. The boyfriend said he did not believe in god.
Next thing he knew his back felt like it was on fire and he yelled in pain. She lifted up his shirt and there were claw marks on his back.
Visitors also experience a phantom cat jumping on their bed at night and often hear children running in the halls. The basement is considered the most haunted part of the hotel. The lights flicker oddly and orbs have been photographed.
Even Ghost Adventures has stopped by this infamous haunt. Would you stay the night?
5. New Ulm City Cemetery
New Ulm, Minnesota is the Oktoberfest capital of the Midwest, and home to some crazy haunts.
The New Ulm City Cemetery is massive, and filled with historic people who founded and changed New Ulm. August Schell of Schell Brewing is buried here, along with his brother.
But the real haunted location is Allie Peterson’s grave. An 8-year-old boy who passed away and left very distraught parents behind.
He is rumored to run around the graveyard at night. As a dare, local teenagers will sneak into the cemetery at night and try to touch Allie’s shoe. Some leave a gift.
Other haunts include spirits from the Dakota War of 1862, which killed many people. Check out my walkthrough of the cemetery at YouTube:
See related: New Ulm City Cemetery Walkthrough
6. Nopeming Sanitorium
Address: 2650 Nopeming Rd, Duluth, MN 55810
Up north in Duluth you’ll find the Nopeming Sanitorium that housed over 1,000 tuberculosis patients during its tenure. It’s no wonder this is one of the most scary places in Minnesota.
This sanitorium is filled with spirits, making it a great spot for ghost hunters. It’s been seen on travel channel and Sci-Fi networks, and for good reason.
The sanitorium opened in 1912 primarily to house tuberculosis patients. They had to expand and add several buildings over time as demand increased.
Then in the 1970s the sanitorium was repurposed to a nursing home. It finally closed down in 2002. A few major events happened here that give rise to the haunts.
The most famous is the “Mother’s Day Massacre” murder and suicide. The sanitorium held a Mother’s Day event where patients celebrated with their families. But one patient had a different plan.
Patient John Wintoniak shot an orderly, Alex Sufruk, five times in front of the celebration. Then the patient turned the gun around and committed suicide.
There is also a “suicide balcony.” Many patients jumped to their deaths from this balcony that didn’t have a barrier. In the basement, the “maintenance man” roams the halls.
During Halloween season in October you can take paranormal tours to experience the ghosts for yourself! Visitors report hearing growls, moans, and yells, as well as chains hitting walls.
7. Indian Mounds Regional Park
Address: 10 Mounds Blvd., Saint Paul, MN 55106
Established in 1893, Indian Mounds Regional Park (cemetery) is one of the oldest parks in the area.
The Native American burial mounds are estimated to have been created nearly 2,000 years ago. At one point there were 37 mounds. Today, there are only six.
The mounds were created with clay, then those who passed were placed inside a platform, sometimes with stone tools or pottery. Next, they would fill the mound with layers of earth and sand, and cap the mound with gravel and pebbles.
While I haven’t heard of a specific spirit that haunts the park, the aura here crazy. You can feel the presence of spirits all round.
8. James J. Hill House
One of the most haunted places in Minnesota, the James J. Hill House is a beautiful, historic mansion that’s said to be frequented by the ghost of its first owner, James J. Hill.
Hill was a railroad tycoon who died in 1916, and his ghost is said to haunt the home he built for his family. Other ghosts that are said to haunt the home include the ghost of a murdered maid and the ghost of a young girl who died in a fire.
Hill House is open for tours, so if you’re brave enough, you can go see for yourself if it’s haunted!
There are a lot of haunted places in St. Paul. The best way to see it all is by booking this walking ghost tour.
9. First Avenue
One of the most haunted places in the Twin Cities is the iconic First Avenue concert venue. The ghost stories here are endless, attracting ghost hunters from around the world.
Witnesses have seen and heard a wide variety of phenomena here, from unexplained cold spots to disembodied voices. The most famous? A blonde woman in the bathroom.
Concertgoers report that the women’s bathroom holds a spirit of a blonde woman. The venue used to be a Greyhound bus station where a young woman hung herself in the bathroom after finding out her partner wasn’t going to return from war.
10. Glensheen Mansion
The Glensheen Mansion in Duluth is one of the most haunted places in Minnesota. This haunted house has over 39 rooms and a lot of paranormal movement.
The mansion is a popular tourist attraction. It is an architectural wonder that took three years to build in the early 1900s, resting on the shores of Lake Superior. The family who built it created the mining operation up there. And this wealth is what led to a tragic murder.
In 1977 a double murder happened in the Glensheen mansion’s halls. A man broke into the house, killed a nurse on the grand stairway with a candlestick. Then the man went upstairs and smothered the elderly heiress with her own pillow.
The man who admitted to the murders served only 5 years in prison. When he was released, he took his own life just 12 years later. A suspected accomplice, Marjorie Congdon, is still alive and lives in Arizona.
You can take tours of the Glensheen Mansion, it is listed on the national register of historic places. People report hearing strange noises on the staircase and seeing moving objects in the heiress bedroom.
11. The Old Jail and Saloon (B&B) in Taylors Falls Minnesota
Originally built as a jail, the Old Jail and Saloon is now a bed and breakfast with at lease three active ghosts. It’s no surprise since one of its buildings used to be a funeral home.
The inn was a jail, a funeral home, and a bootlegging spot. There is a tunnel from the back room to the other building that is still there.
One spirit is a phantom cat who jumps on visitor’s beds at night. People report feeling the cat but seeing nothing on their bed.
Another spirit is that of a young boy and an older woman who walk around the building together. Paranormal enthusiasts report seeing a glowing orb and flickering lights, then hearing the boy say “we are here to watch you” and telling visitors “not to be afraid.”
Brave souls spend the night in this quaint B&B. Some report sleep paralysis, seeing faces in the TV static, and hearing voices. Would you spend the night?
12. Mounds Theatre in St. Paul
St. Paul in the Twin Cities has a wild history of bootleggers, mobs, and fires.
The Mounds Theatre dates back to 1922. Workers report being grabbed by phantom spirits and lights turning on.
The main spirit is named Red. He is known to throw items at women. Other paranormal encounters include seeing a little girl bouncing a ball across the stage in a pink dress.
One paranormal investigation that took place in the basement of the theater resulted in claw marks on the investigators back.
See the Mounds Theatre on this private ghost tour of St. Paul.
13. Fort Snelling
Fort Snelling has a wild history of conflict and murder. Built in the 1800s on land knwon to be the creation of the Dakota tribe, this site is one of the most haunted locations in Minnesota.
Inside the abandoned structures is a ton of paranormal activity. Both Native American and American war spirits haunt these halls.
And there is a cemetery on site. People report seeing phantom men walking the cemetery then disappearing.
Fort Snelling offers ghost tours where you can hear footsteps and get a whiff of very strange smells.
14. S.S. William A. Irvin Duluth
Ever guess that a giant ship would be one of the most haunted places in Minnesota? Well it is.
Located on Lake Superior in Duluth, this location is filled with spirits. Don’t believe it? Just ask a tour guide. There are so many paranormal encounters here it is hard to list them all.
The only known death on the ship was a man who was scalded to death in the boiler room. Visitors report hearing clanging on the boiler that no longer operates.
Other reports include that you can hear phantom footsteps on the deck and strange noises of young children and men. Its unclear who these spirits are, but they are very active.
The Duluth haunted ship offers ghost tours in October.
15. Wabasha Street Caves
If you want to experience the spirits of gangsters, the Wabasha Street Caves are a great place to start.
The caves were a mushroom farm and storage facility. Then in the 1930s a night club was created. Located deep in the caves the club became a safe spot for notorious gangsters like John Dillinger.
It is rumored that 3 gangsters were shot dead, but when the officers came to pick up the bodies, they were gone. The only evidence? Gunshots in the cave walls.
A tour guide described the hauntings as frequent, and normal. They hear whistling in the caves and footsteps. The ghosts here can seek energy from the cold, damp caves.
Would you visit the Wabasha Street Caves?
16. St. James Hotel, Red Wing
A romantic getaway, the St. James Hotel in Red Wing, Minnesota is one of the most haunted places in Minnesota.
The hotel was built in the late 1800s and has several spirits that roam the halls. One spirit is not so Minnesota nice – he is known to attack guests and slam doors all over the hotel.
Another spirit is a young woman who appears in guest rooms in the middle of the night wearing a white dress. One more common ghost is that of a worker who is rumored to have fallen to his death during the hotel’s construction. He is commonly seen on the grand staircase but when you approach him he fades into oblivion.
The basement is also full of spirits. Ghostly faces appear and disappear and stare at unwanted visitors until they are so frightened they leave.
People report hearing crying babies and ominous chatter. Would you stay the night?
17. St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul
The St. Paul Hotel is a luxurious hotel that locals and visitors swear by. But it is also one of the most haunted locations in the Twin Cities.
The hotel was built in 1910 and is home to mobster spirits still living in the prohibition era. The biggest mobster, Leon Gleckman (some called him the Al Capone of Minnesota) ran his bootlegging and prositition ring out of this hotel.
Gleckman was arrested, but tried to escape. Unfortunately he ran his car into a bridge. His spirit still roams the hotel. People report disembodied footsteps and cold spots throughout the hotel.
Leon Gleckman, the “Al Capone of St. Paul,” ran his bootlegging and prostitution operations out of the hotel. Stay the night and you’ll enjoy luxurious linens, and a little ghoul just might stop by.
18. Warden’s House Museum
Speaking from personal experience, the Warden’s House in Stillwater, Minnesota has a lot of paranormal activity.
The house was built in 1853 as a place for the wardens to live. But this was not just any house, it became the first Minnesota State Prison in 1858.
The last warden to live here was Warden Henry Wolfer. He had a daughter that haunts the halls to this day.
Warden Henry Wolfer’s daughter Gertrude (Trudy) had a son, but she died soonafter. Warden Wolfer brought him to the Warden’s house and raised him.
The Warden’s daughter is often reported as sitting in the master bedroom, searching and asking for her baby. Sometimes you can see her holding her stomach in pain. (She died of appendicitis).
During one tour a little girl asked if the “woman was always there.” Locals report seeing Trudy staring out of the upstairs window or rocking a cradle.
Other mysterious things happen here. People report hearing coal being shoveled in the basement and whisps of cold air hitting their cheeks on hot days.
19. Gibbs Farmhouse
Address: 2097 Larpenteur Avenue West, Saint Paul, MN 55113
Locals know the Gibbs farmhouse is home to phantom children, most well known as “the ghost boy of Gibbs farm”
The farm owners had a large family of five children. In 1867 a tragic event happened. William, the couple’s third child, was trying to help beat back a grass fire that could have taken the farm and the house.
Unfortunately, the child – who was only 9 years old – died of smoke inhalation. His parents were devastated. Little did they know, William has never left the farmhouse.
Visitors report phantom footsteps in the hallway behind the kitchen. Others see children’s toys laid out even though the toys are locked up. And in the kitchen, doors and cupboards move by themselves.
20. Forepaugh’s restaurant
Another scary location in St. Paul is Forepaugh’s restaurant. Forepaugh’s restaurant operated from the 1970s until 2019.
The restaurant started as a dry goods store in the 1870s by Joseph Forepaugh. After some success the family built a large mansion nearby with several servants.
Eventually Joseph had an affair with one of the maids named Molly. When his wife found out, he put the affair to an end and moved to Europe. But Molly found out she was pregnant and hung herself on the third floor of the mansion.
When Joseph returned to the Twin Cities, he bought a huge mansion on Summit Avenue. He took his own life in the 1890s.
The mansion was a romantic French restaurant until 2019. Today, it is closed but many workers and visitors over the years have reported seeing Joseph and Molly reviving their lost love walking and talking together throughout the mansion.
21. Landmark Center
When you visit St. Paul you cannot miss the historic Landmark Center. Many mistake it as a city hall building. What many people don’t know, however, is that a speakeasy spirit roams its halls.
The Landmark Center was built to be the federal courthouse and post office. In the 1930s a notorious speakeasy owner, Jack Pfeiffer, was held here. He operated the infamous Hollyhocks speakeasy during prohibition.
Jack greatly feared having to spend time in jail. He committed suicide in his cell to avoid it. Today, you can spot Jack dancing at weddings and hanging around the third-floor women’s bathroom.
22. The Soap Factory
Now closed, the Soap Factory, was a legendary haunt in Minneapolis. For many years it operated as a haunted house where you wouldn’t know what was real or pretend.
If you liked learning about the Haunted Place in Minnesota check out: